Photo courtesy: Senate Republican Caucus [Hi-Res] [Photo with Sergeant First Class Banks]
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SACRAMENTO – California students and disabled veterans stood with the Senate Republican Caucus at a press conference today highlighting 11 Senate Republican priority bills that work to make California affordable.
“There’s no question that California has become a very expensive place to live,” said Senate Republican Leader Jean Fuller (R-Bakersfield). “Californians deserve better, and this first step contains practical and common sense bills that help provide relief for disabled veterans, students and parents, seniors, renters, low-income residents, and first-time home buyers.”
Retired United States Army veteran Sevrine Banks joined Senate Republicans at the press conference to share her personal story of taking care of a family of two as a single mother. During her 20 years in the Army, Banks went on three deployments before retiring in February 2015. Banks is now the Director of the Sacramento chapter of the Women Veterans Alliance and is an advocate for veterans.
“As a disabled veteran, I can share with you the struggles a veteran endures once they return home. Many veterans carry wounds, many of them invisible ones. I know I join many veterans and appreciate the support of the Senators that I stand here with today. We are not asking for a hand-out, but want others to understand that we are a vulnerable and underserved population,” said retired Sergeant First Class Banks.
“Affordability is not a partisan issue, and these are not partisan proposals. Simply put, these bills are solutions. They are first steps towards addressing affordability today,” said Senator Janet Nguyen (R-Garden Grove), Vice Chair of the Senate Committee on Governance and Finance.
“California’s affordable housing crisis has reached a level where every county is facing shortages. While median incomes have fallen 8 percent since 2000, rental prices have soared by 21 percent in the same timeframe. To help combat this growing problem, I authored SB 1103 to increase the renter’s tax credit to assist struggling families. By increasing the tax credit, this bill protects the benefits, integrity, and purpose of the renters’ tax credit,” said Senator Anthony Cannella (R-Ceres).
“We’ve got an out-of-control state government that thinks higher spending is the answer to every problem and Sacramento is always hungry for more taxpayer dollars. But enough is enough. We need to make California more affordable. We need the families and businesses around the state to know that we’re putting their needs first. We’re going to let them keep more of the money they earn instead of shipping it to an unaccountable Sacramento,” said Senator Ted Gaines (R-El Dorado). “If the state can waste tens of billions of dollars on pie-in-the-sky projects like High Speed Rail it’s a sure sign that it has more money than it knows what to do with and that it’s time to cut taxes.”
“California has some of the highest taxes in the nation and is the fifth most expensive state to live in. Education is the last thing that should be an additional burden to families. SB 1437 provides some tax relief for this financial pressure, offering support to hard working California parents. Every California family deserves quality elementary and secondary education, and a tax offset for shared costs. SB 1437 is a vital resource that our families need and places the responsibility of education back in the hands of parents who know what their children need the most,” said Senator John Moorlach (R-Costa Mesa).
“Working Californians who have impaired vision will be able to drive safely to work or school with the restoration of Medi-Cal’s eyeglasses program,” said Senator Jim Nielsen (R-Gerber).
“As a native Californian, I have watched my home state go from a place where hard work and education made dreams come true to a place where high taxes, over regulation and lack of educational opportunities are keeping people down and driving jobs away,” said Senator Jeff Stone (R-Riverside). “My legislation, and that of my colleagues, will help restore the luster to the Golden State by providing opportunities for hard working families, and helping our seniors and our veterans enjoy a better quality of life.”
“There is no denying our middle class is being squeezed out of existence. If you factor in the price of housing, the excessive taxes and fees Californians pay, our poverty level is on par with folks in Appalachia. This package of bills takes some of the pressure off of people, especially those on a fixed income, which is a good first step, but the Legislature really needs to recalibrate how it does business and find other ways to solve the state’s problems without raiding people’s wallets,” said Senator Tom Berryhill (R-Twain Harte).
“A recent report from Wall Street Cheat Sheet confirms what many of us already know. California is one of the most expensive places to live and raise a family in the United States, and this is especially true for the cities I represent in Southern California. Senate Republicans are taking positive action to help individuals and families by not only recognizing our high cost of living, but offering real solutions to address the problem,” said Senator Bob Huff (R-San Dimas).
“For generations, California thrived, offering economic opportunity and the chance to raise strong families. Republicans are committed to reclaiming this promise, restoring our state to its greatness and removing obstacles to prosperity. I’m proud to support my colleagues’ bills and to build on my efforts this year to waive government fees for veterans getting back to work and help Californians save for new homes,” said Senator Mike Morrell (R-Rancho Cucamonga).
Additional statistics on California’s affordability:
- California was ranked 5th on CNBC’s list of “America's most expensive states to live in 2015.” (Source: CNBC)
- Average monthly rent in California is 50 percent higher than the rest of the country. (Source: Legislative Analyst’s Office)
- 4 in 10 Californians live at or near poverty. (Source: Public Policy Institute of California)
- Californians bear one of the highest tax burdens in the country. (Source: Hoover Institution Research Fellow Carson Bruno)